Obamacare Signup Deadline Causing Headaches for Congress Members

Sunday, 08 Dec 2013 09:23 PM

By Greg Richter

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Members of Congress are often finding it as difficult to sign up for Obamacare as their constituents are, and when they succeed, their premiums are often higher, Politico reports.

They are required to sign up by Monday, two weeks earlier than the general population, if they want coverage by Jan. 1. 

Only 101 of the 438 House members and delegates had completed enrollment in the D.C. exchanges and the numbers for their staffs was similar, The Washington Times reported Friday.

"It’s been less than perfect. It’s taken a while," Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., told Politico. "It takes a long time, dropped off, get asked to call back."

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., tweeted that the site crashed three times when he was trying to sign up.



Fleischmann also said premiums for his family will rise from $450 to $800 a month, and he hadn't even received confirmation he is enrolled, Politico reported.

Congress would have been exempted from the exchanges since members and their staffs have insurance from their employer – the federal government. But for political purposes, Congress voted not to be exempt.

At least one Obamacare foe, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, has said he will pay the penalty and go uninsured. The penalty would be 1 percent of his pay, or $1,740 a year.

Democrats, who mostly favored the Affordable Care Act, have been sharing more positive experiences, but even they had frustrations with logging on to the website which is functioning better, but not like intended.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said he switched plans for his family, but the new Obamacare compliant plan is "not significantly less or more expensive."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., an ardent Obamacare defender, admitted last week that he'll pay an extra $4,500 a year

Even so, Reid continued his defense of Obamacare, telling a local Nevada TV station that President Barack Obama did not break his promise that people could keep insurance plans they like.

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